Profiled: Aidan Price

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Name: Adian Price

Company: East Asia Soft

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Title: Game Designer

Favorite Classic Game: Contra

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We sat down with Aidan Price from East Asia Soft to talk about their upcoming game Lost Sea and about Aidan’s gaming influences which included classic games such as the original Super Mario Bros. and Contra for the NES. Aidan also worked on a number of projects before his work as game designer on Lost Sea included Brink and Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers. Aidan comes to us from Hong Kong so we can add that stamp to our virtual passport of places we have visited on Gamer Profiles and he gave us some inside into how gamers and arcades are a bit different than in the States and his native U.K. so check out the interview and let us know what you think.

 

The Obsolete Gamer Show: The Ryan Culver Show

The Obsolete Gamer Show: The Ryan Culver Show

People often like to play a game when a movie is going to be made. They want to pick the actors that they feel should be in it based on, who they feel would be the best fit. In some cases they also pick who they feel should not be in them as well.

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With the Uncharted movie buzz there is no doubt who we at Obsolete Gamer feel should be staring in the lead. He already played the part in the commercial for PlayStation’s All Star Battle Royale and oh, by the way, he pretty much lives the part in real life. Not only is Ryan Culver an actor, but his is a pilot, a true adventurer and does extreme sports as well, seriously, who better to play Nathan Drake.

On this episode we talked with Ryan about his work on that commercial as well his other work including appearances on Spin City, Charmed, N.C.I.S and Hot in Cleveland. We also talked about his incredible travels around the world and how anyone can become an adventurer by taking that first step outside their own home.

It was a fascinating a fun conversation so check it out and let us know what you think.

Darkspore

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Originally, I picked Darkspore up because I wanted to see what Maxis would do with an action RPG built on Spore’s creature creator.  Spore was a mediocre sandbox game in which you guided a species through its entire evolutionary process.  The highlight was the creator, which offered the player a deep level of customization.  How does this system carry over to an action RPG?  It’s not quite what I expected, but the game does a bunch of things well.

Darkspore - Gameplay

If you’re like me, you thought you’d be making your own genetic heroes from the ground up for this game.  Wrong.  While this is disappointing, what they’ve done instead is fairly robust.  Customization of your heroes is driven by what gear you pick up, which is then integrated into their bodies.  You can mount dropped items almost anywhere on the hero’s body, with a couple exceptions like boots and weapons.  There’s a wide palette of colors and color schemes, for even more tweaking.

Darkspore - Gameplay

I didn’t spend too much time playing dress up, but there were definitely a lot of options for crafting a unique appearance.  In addition to making cosmetic changes, the gear solely determines your level.  That is to say, there are no skill or stat leveling trees for individual heroes.  Instead, you gain “Crogenitor” levels as you play, allowing you to do things like unlock additional squad slots, heroes, and the option to chain-finish levels in succession for better loot.

Darkspore - Gameplay

Not everyone will like it, but I feel it’s a fresh twist on the classic RPG formula.  Probably a consequence of this leveling system, there is no way to trade with other players.  I suspect the devs don’t want people getting power-geared too much, which would definitely happen if trading was a feature.  I’ve been told that they’re implementing a way to drop items on the ground, which will allow friends to trade but doesn’t help much for trading with untrustworthy strangers.

Darkspore - Gameplay

You start the game on your ship, which is your hub for genetic hero customization, multiplayer chat channels and anything else that isn’t standard gameplay.  To prepare for actual combat, you make squads of 3 heroes each.  You select one of your squads for each deployment and you can swap between squad members at will, albeit on a short cooldown.  Each hero has a unique standard attack, 2 core skills, one or more passive abilities/auras and a squad ability.

Darkspore - Gameplay

The squad ability is interesting because it is shared amongst all 3 heroes.  Since there are upwards of 40 heroes in the game, there are many combinations of squad abilities to mix and match.  At higher difficulty levels, you will need to find the right balance of survivability, damage and crowd control to avoid becoming dead.  The possible combinations only increase as you add more buddies to your squad in multiplayer, which capped out at 4 in beta.  There are two other considerations for squad composition.

Darkspore - Gameplay

There are 5 genetic types that your champions and enemies alike share: Necro, Plasma, Bio, Quantum and Cyber.  Enemies of the same type as your hero will deal double damage, so you’re not going to want to bring a bunch of Cyber heroes to a planet that’s all Cyber monsters.  Additionally, heroes are separated into Tempest (Mage), Ravager (Rogue) and Sentinel (Tank) classes.  You’ll want to mix and match appropriately for different situations.

Darkspore - Gameplay

My overall impression of the game is mixed.  On one hand, the combat is crisp and fun, especially when you’re cooperating with friends.  The abilities are satisfyingly destructive and the heroes that I played all felt unique.  It’s like playing league of legends in action RPG flavor, in that you only have a handful of spells available at one time, but a ton of different characters to choose from.  There’s a good mix of enemy types with various special abilities you’ll need to adjust to.  On the other hand, there are aspects of the game that worry me.

Darkspore - Gameplay

The level design is boring.  All the missions unlocked for the beta had simplistic layouts, making you feel like you’re on rails.  There’s only the bare minimum of exploration.  The game rewards you with loot for finding badly hidden obelisks, which is hugely disappointing to me.  Level randomization is almost nonexistent.  Zones layouts do not randomize AT ALL when you replay them, other than obelisk placement and location/composition of monster packs.

Darkspore - Gameplay

This has the potential to get incredibly stale, especially since the game follows the Diablo format where you play it 3 times over on different difficulties.  Additionally, the game offers arena style PvP which may prove impossible to balance given the sheer number of heroes.  The hero customization, while not a failure, is mostly cosmetic, which is basically a cop-out.  I would rather they left out any attempt at PvP balance and gave the player some manner of ability customization outside of items.  Lastly, the hero editor interface is somewhat clunky.  If there is a way to view all a character’s equipped gear at once, I haven’t found it.  You have to assess it one slot at a time.

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That said, I will be playing this game.  The core gameplay is solid enough to provide action RPG fans with hours upon hours of casual fun with friends.  But Diablo III this ain’t.

Profiled: Brad Smith

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Name: Brad Smith

Favorite Classic Game: Metroid 2 (Gameboy) Prince of Persia 2 

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Gamer Profiles heads to the great white north to talk with developer, Brad Smith on his latest project titled, Lizard. His Kickstarter brings us a cool platformer for the NES where you explore an 8-bit world while wearing a lizard for a true retro inspired adventure. Brad has been a fan of classic games all his life from Metroid 2 on the Gameboy to Prince of Persia on the PC. Brad is also a fan of video game music and began creating his own music own music for the Nintendo.

We had a great time talking with Brad so check out the gamer profile and you can check out the Lizard Kickstarter and Brad’s website at the links below.

Lizard Kickstarter – https://www.kickstarter.com…

Brad’s Website – http://rainwarrior.ca

Gamer Profile: Loris Malek

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Gamer Profile: Loris Malek

Name: Loris Malek

Title: President

Company: Moon Spider Studios

Favorite Classic Game: Super Mario Bros, Ninja Turtles, Street Fighter

We’ve talked with fantastic people from around the world and Loris from Moon Spider is no different. Their game, Harold is an interesting mix between Pitfall and Lemmings that gives you that hardcore, but unique gameplay that gamers have been asking for. Loris grew up in France and could have opened up shop in his home town or the west cost of the U.S. but made Miami his home. He is a true fan of classic games and even had an awesome system of sharing console systems and games growing up as a kid in Nice, France, check out our extended interview to learn more.

harold - moon spider studios

About Moon Spider Studios

If you’re sick of hearing, “I’m gonna revolutionize the video game industry!” you’ve come to the right place. Moon Spider Studio, located in gorgeous Key Biscayne, Florida, is home to a collection of veterans and young-bloods focusing on high production values, top-notch visuals, and fun gameplay. The company was founded in 2009 and is a private, independent studio developing on multiple platforms. Only 15 minutes from downtown Miami, Moon Spider is situated mere blocks from some of the most beautiful beaches and fantastic windsurfing in the western hemisphere.